February 28, 2012
We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow
The text is deceptively simple but don’t let this book fool you.
“We planted a tree.”
The story opens with a family in Brooklyn planting a tree in their yard. The next spread shows a second family planting a tree in Kenya.
But why? Why take the time to plant a tree? Muldrow covers the many reasons in text that remains simple and straightforward – to provide shade, to hold the rain water, to clean the air, to give us food and on and on.
While the focus of the story remains on these two families, other spreads show other people and other trees in other part of the world, including Paris. In many cases, the people are simply living their lives unaware of the benefits that the trees bring to them. But in some spreads, such as the one where they are picking fruit, the benefits are obvious. In his illustrations, Staake carefully ages the characters, showing the passage of time and the benefits that the trees continue to bring to the families that planted them and to the world in general.
Short, this book would be a good introduction for preschoolers to the concepts of ecology. (No, they’re never too young!) But paired with the illustrations it is a complex enough story to spark many lengthy discussions.
And, don’t be surprised if you end up planting a tree!